Politics & Government | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Politics & Government

ND Association of Counties opposes Measure 3

Oct 10, 2018

The North Dakota Association of Counties is opposing Measure 3 – the measure that would legalize recreational marijuana.

Association executive director Terry Traynor said the group took that step at its convention this week in Bismarck.

"We don't think North Dakota is ready (for recreational marijuana)," Traynor said in an interview.

Traynor said the measure is flawed.

ND Racing Commission

The North Dakota Racing Commission had a study done of horse racing’s impact on the state’s economy.

The study was done for the Commission by NDSU.

"It showed the industry provides a $24 million economic impact every year," said Racing Commission Executive Director Gunner LaCour.

LaCour said while $24 million may not be that big a number, it’s pretty good for the horse industry.

The state Employee Compensation Commission is recommending state workers receive what amounts to two percent pay raises in each year of the 2019-2021 biennium.

State budget director Joe Morrissette chairs that Commission. He said the recommendation is to hand out the raises based on performance.

"It would be in a range of one to three percent to each employee, based on actual performance," Morrissette said in an interview.

In addition, one percent would be added in the first year to address compression issues.

ND Catholic Conference: No on Measures 1, 3

Oct 6, 2018

The North Dakota Catholic Conference is the latest organization to oppose Measure One on the November ballot.

That measure would create a state ethics commission, would require more transparency in donations, restrict gifts to elected officials from lobbyists, and prevents officials from becoming lobbyists for two years after leaving state government. It's a proposed amendment to the state's Constitution.

"This is a difficult issue for us," said Conference executive director Christopher Dodson. "No one's opposed to integrity."

State revenue recovering

Oct 2, 2018

North Dakota’s revenue picture continues to improve.

In August, revenue collections exceeded the Legislative forecast by 10 percent. For the biennium to date, collections are nearly 4 percent ahead of forecast.

"It indicates again that we've seen the bottom," said state Office of Management and Budget director Joe Morrissette.

Morrissette said increased oil activity in western North Dakota means increases in oil taxes and sales tax collections. Sales taxes for the month of August were nearly 26 percent ahead of forecast.

North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Jay Schuler has resigned, after sending out what was termed an “unacceptable” e-mail.

The announcement came Monday from the Governor’s office.

Sources in the Department of Commerce say Schuler sent out an e-mail, with attachment, from his state e-mail address. It went to all Commerce employees, and it dealt with the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court appointment.  Some employees took the matter to the state’s Human Resources Management Services office.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Board of Higher Education will not take a formal position on opposing the recreational marijuana initiative that is on the November ballot.

The measure was discussed by the Board’s Governance Committee. That committee asked University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott to draft a position paper. But board legal counsel said the Board could not take a formal position on the issue – because the Board is a part of state government. However, the board could discuss factual information on the measure without taking a formal position.

District 4 GOP Representative is resigning

Sep 27, 2018

A state legislator from northwest North Dakota has resigned.

Rep. Bill Oliver (R-New Town) is resigning, effective October 30th.  In his letter, Oliver said “My life situation has changed, and I feel I cannot represent my constituents with the zeal necessary.”

Oliver sent the letter to House Majority Leader Al Carlson (R-Fargo) and Legislative Management chairman Sen. Ray Holmberg. (R-Grand Forks).

Holmberg said he will be sending a letter to the GOP District 4 chairman.

Social service 'zones' proposed

Sep 24, 2018

As part of a reorganization of social services in North Dakota, the Department of Human Services is proposing grouping county social services into “zones.”

"Over the last few years, there have been a number of counties that have formed multi-county social service districts," said Department of Human Services director Chris Jones. "We're looking at that concept to group some other counties together."

Jones said not only are there administrative efficiencies, it could better serve North Dakotans.

"We will be able to move dollars across borders," Jones said.

Opponents of the measure to legalize recreational marijuana have asked the state Board of Higher Education to formally weigh in against the measure.

University system director of student affairs Katie Fitzsimmons told the Board’s Governance Committee the Attorney General’s office and other organizations opposed to measure 3 made the request. She told the committee it could be a great opportunity to approach the issue from a student health and wellness perspective.

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